Tackling avoidable blindness in the most vulnerable regions of the oPt
- 24 Sep 2019
Yasmeen Zghari, from Bethlehem, is one of our Mobile Outreach nurses. Below, she reflects on six years on the frontline of tackling eye conditions in Palestine.
Nursing is not just a job. Being a professional nurse means the patients in your care must be able to trust you. It means being up to date with best practice, it means treating your patients and colleagues with dignity, kindness, respect and compassion. I am proud to be a member of this ancient hospital with its prestigious status.
The Outreach team is incredibly important, this much is very clear to me. Every day I meet people – most often the elderly, or mothers – who have been unable to, or feared, seeking eye care due to political or economic factors. This not only impacts their primary eye care but also stops them from seeking advanced eye care for more serious conditions. We see advanced cases that should have been treated years ago, almost every day.
By coming to them we can provide quality diagnosis, but we also follow up to ensure they seek treatment at our centres and are provided with the correct permits to do so. The whole patient journey is supported.
I recently saw one patient who drove this home for me. She was only 40 years old and had suffered from diabetes for years without proper management. At this young age her eyes had already become badly damaged by diabetic retinopathy. We diagnosed her and sent her to have urgent treatment at one of our West Bank centres. What would she have done if had not been there to diagnose her!? She would most likely have been blinded.
This lack of awareness of diabetes, and other conditions is common. We are there in the communities on the frontline educating, screening and supporting our fellow Palestinians to better eye health. I’m proud to be part of the team.
Yasmeen and her colleagues see almost 40,000 patients every year in our mobile teams, thanks to the support of our donors. You are enabling our teams to tackle avoidable blindness in the heart of their communities. Thank you.